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Cowboys' John Fassel: 'Anybody on earth is under consideration' for kicker

After placekicker Brett Maher’s bizarre issues in the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys don’t yet have a firm answer to the question of who will kick for them in 2023.

DALLAS — To say the Dallas Cowboys have had problems at kicker over the past 12 months would be like saying the Woodall Rodgers Freeway gets backed up at rush hour.

The Cowboys' latest scheme to fix their kicker problem is to rely on 26-year-old Tristan Vizcaino and his career 91.7% field goal percentage and his 75.0% extra point percentage.

Even though Vizcaino will ostensibly get all of the reps during the Cowboys' offseason program, special teams coordinator John Fassel didn't exactly give the former Washington product a ringing endorsement during the May 13 rookie minicamp.

"We got Tristan Vizcaino on the roster, and I think anybody else on Earth that’s not on the team right now is under consideration."

Before anyone makes like Uncle Rico and hops in their 1975 Dodge B-30 Tradesman Santana conversion van to The Star for tryouts, that was Fassel's friendly way of saying, "XFL, USFL, veterans on the street, younger guys that still haven’t found a way.”

One of the reasons that the Cowboys are giving Vizcaino a chance is because he falls in that latter category, according to Fassel.

"He’s a guy that has been on a lot of teams and really just hasn’t had an opportunity to really compete like I think he does this year,” said the veteran special teams coach. “I think he’s always been behind Nick Folk or Justin Tucker where he’s kind of more camp leg, but he’s a quality kicker. So, I think this is — and he knows it — his best opportunity to be the guy that he’s probably had in his career."

The Cowboys plan is to give Vizcaino every opportunity to be the guy. If all goes well, the 6’-2”, 208-pound kicker will be booting the ball off the tee on Sept. 10 at MetLife Stadium in the Week 1 opener against the New York Giants. Fassel believes Vizcaino's "flashes of accuracy" and "great trajectory" are the components to being a good kicker.

"I think for him it’s showing consistency and then being given an opportunity that I think is the best one he’s ever had," said Fassel.

If the Cowboys' faith in Vizcaino is not rewarded, expect a reliable veteran to join the team immediately. That could range anywhere from veteran Mason Crosby to last year’s main leg Brett Maher.

"There’s a lot of guys that are in perfect form in the NFL, and you weigh that against everything else," Fassel said. "There’s really no secrets of who is available."

Dallas isn't winging it at kicker; they have a plan. What the offseason workouts and training camp will reveal is how viable that plan is. Should Vizcaino not work out, there will be veterans available. 

There have been instances of contenders resorting to the street to fill a need at kicker. The 2009 Indianapolis Colts needed Lake Highlands High School product Matt Stover to take over for an injured Adam Vinatieri en route to a Super Bowl appearance. 

The 1993 Cowboys signed Emmitt Smith after an 0-2 start, but they also canned a struggling Lin Elliott and brought in Eddie Murray, who had a fabulous career with the Detroit Lions.

As of the middle of May, it’s Vizcaino versus the world.

Do you think the Cowboys will find a solution to their kicking situation? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.


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